is the darkened appearance that can appear on silver as
time goes by. It results when our modern, polluted
air comes into contact with your silver. Of
particular significance is sulfur in the air and
hydrogen sulfide gas, which is usually introduced into
the environment by cars and other combustion sources.
The effect is oxidation on the surface of the silver
It has been said that
tarnish was unheard of before the Industrial Revolution,
which introduced the large scale burning of fossil
Tarnish first appears as a yellow tint.
As the condition worsens, the silver will turn tan, then
brown, then black. Opt for frequent cleanings to
nip tarnish in the bud.
When a piece of jewelry is worn often,
our everyday use of it can inadvertently keep it
polished. However, many things in our environment
can accelerate the tarnishing process. These
include contact with rubber bands, which should never be
used to tighten lose rings or bind the individual pieces
in a jewelry set. The level of acidity in our
skin, which can be altered by some medications, can also
create an environment conducive of tarnish.
One point of caution. If your silver has
a purple stain, do not confuse this as tarnish. It
is probably firestain, caused by oxidized copper.
This is most likely to be seen on very old silver
pieces. Consult a professional silversmith for
guidance on handling this situation. Cleaning
firestain with a tarnish removal cream could exacerbate